Thailand: Govt eyes more cash handouts

  • The government is considering giving financial assistance to people affected by the latest outbreak of Covid-19, government sources revealed on 11 Jan 21.
  • New relief measures to help the business sector and the public were on the agenda in the wake of the latest Covid-19 crisis, sources said.
  • Expected to be put to the cabinet for approval on 12 Jan 21 are a THB4,000 cash handout for those in need and the expansion of the existing measures.
  • One of the existing measures is the co-payment scheme which allows registered individuals who buy goods from smaller local shops to pay only half the price of their purchases (of listed essential goods), with the government subsidising the other 50% of the bill.
  • The government also offered a THB5,000 transfer into the bank accounts of workers employed in the informal sector. The monthly stipend ran for three months, from Apr-Jun 20, and was provided to temporary workers, contract employees and self-employed workers not covered by the Social Security Act’s Section 33.
  • The government plans a deficit of THB700bn in 2021, up from THB608.9bn in 2020. 2021-2022’s budget of THB3.1tr, which was approved by the cabinet on 5 Jan 21, is about 5.6% (THB185.9bn) lower due to a fall in tax revenue, the prime minister said. Revenue collection is expected to be at THB240bn in 2021 from THB267bn in 2020 due the economic impact from the coronavirus.
  • Agencies must also look for other sources of funding and investment into projects such as public-private partnerships like the Thailand Future Fund — a state-backed infrastructure fund — to ease the burden on the budget, the prime minister said.

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